The neighborhood around the Barry Recreational Center in Rosemont is about to be spruced up.
The village received a $176,800 state grant last week that will help pay for an artificial field turf, a walking track and a picnic area at a 1.3-acre grass field next to the rec center building, 7128 Barry St.
The grant, funded through the state's Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development program, will be matched by the village to pay for the project's costs.
Plans include a multiuse turf field for soccer, baseball and softball -- the field will be designed to accommodate all those uses.
"Where the bases will be, you'll have brown (colored) turf. If you're playing soccer, the lines will still be there for soccer," said Karen Stephens, director of parks and recreation for the Rosemont Park District.
She said the grass field, used now by local kids for sports, often gets muddy.
Construction on the improvements could begin as early as this summer, though a project completion date is undetermined.
Across the street from the rec center, construction of a public parking lot is expected to resume next week. It'll serve as additional parking not only for those who visit the recreation center, but also residents of nearby apartment buildings.
Crews started work on the lot late last year, but they were delayed once winter weather hit. The project, which involves drainage work and paving, is expected to be done by the end of May.
In addition, village officials have commissioned a 15-by-300-foot mural painted on two buildings adjacent to the parking lot as part of an upcoming summer community art project.
Eight students, who will be paid as village summer employees, will paint the mural under the direction of Chicago artist Rahmaan Statik Barnes. The village board approved a $20,000 contract with Barnes this week.
There's currently a coat of white paint on three sides of the two buildings where the proposed mural will be painted. One building is owned by the village; the other property owner has consented to the building being used for the mural, said Mayor Brad Stephens.
The mayor described the mural to be "like a Z" shape since it's on three sides, though what exactly will be painted is still being formulated by Barnes and the students.
"He's worked on several projects within the city of Chicago, and he's quite a talented guy," the mayor said.